Tuesday, January 3, 2017

January Update: Accomplishments and Goals

I didn't manage my "where am I going, where have I been" post last month, so I decided to do a recap of 2016 and a look ahead at 2017 for my January post.

The bad news first. I never got my writing mojo back last year. Three months I was dead in the water. I never finished that dream story for the Cafe. I did find an ending for one story I was working on, but haven't written it. I managed to pull out a story the day before the post went live on the Cafe about something completely different, so I didn't let the Cafe down. But it wasn't the story I wanted to tell.

I didn't keep with my timeline for 2016. I had planned on finishing up Book 3 this month, but I still haven't written more than a couple thousand words on it. And I never did finish the last episode of the first season of my adventure novel.

I did not participate in National Novel Writing Month for the first time since I found out about it over a decade ago.

I missed several writing meetings, write-ins, and get togethers.

But. Good news. In 2016, I:
  • Finished editing Monsters of Lawrence
  • Finished writing Towers of Kansas, which I started back in 2012
  • Did first round edits for Towers of Kansas
  • Finished writing episode three of my adventure series
  • Wrote episode four of my adventure series
  • Started episode five of my adventure series
  • Finished writing the first book in the Druid Wars series
  • Did an editing treatment for Online Dating for Demons so it's ready for dev edits
  • Wrote a flash fiction for the 24-hour writing contest, which is currrently on submission
  • Wrote seven stories for the Confabulator Cafe
  • Managed the Cafe so that it had at least four stories every single month in 2016
  • Spoke on six panels and did a reading at ConQuest
  • Wrote a story-in-a-bag for ConQuest
  • Attended my first WorldCon
  • Wrote twelve blog posts for the year (even if it wasn't one a month, it was close)
  • Overall, wrote over 115,000 words on various projects and spent countless hours editing
  • And even though it wasn't ready, I did query Book 1 with six different agents

In addition to all of that writing, I also edited two novels and three novellas for three different clients.

I had a solid year. I made the project timeline. I followed it until the last couple of months. I cataloged all of my stories and found ways to fix them all. I made concrete goals and good progress toward them.

So. This year, my goals are to:
  • Write Scions of Mythos
  • Sell or self-publish Monsters of Lawrence
  • Send Towers of Kansas to beta readers and incorporate their edits
  • Finish the first season of my adventure novellas
  • Start the second season of my adventure novellas
  • Write at least six stories for the Cafe (and keep the Cafe running)
  • Edit Druid Wars Book 1 for beta readers
  • Start writing Druid Wars Book 2
  • Do dev edits for Online Dating for Demons
  • Help run Reader Con in October
  • Write a blog update every month, even if I have nothing to report.

It's ambitious for me, especially since it's a lot more of the same, which is stuff I've been struggling to work on for the last three months without any luck.

But I did learn some valuable lessons. One, timelines are great, but they have to be flexible. Two, I will get burned out, so I have to work hard during the good months and go easy on myself during the tough ones. Three, NaNoWriMo is time for new projects, not continuing old ones. I need to keep expanding the various worlds I have at my disposal, and I will do better with a clean slate than trying to continue in other worlds for NaNo.

It seems daunting now, in the depths of my SAD, but I know I won't be in this pit forever. I will write again. And I will see one of my books in print this year, even if I have to put it out there myself.

And thus begins year six of this blog! Only four more years.

It's crazy how time flies.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

November Update: Disappointed

I've put off writing this update because...I don't have much to update.

I made it three days into NaNo before I gave up. Scions of Mythos just doesn't want to be told right now, and I didn't have the heart to try something different. By the time I realized I couldn't write it, it was too late to start something new anyway.

I'm still pretty depressed and unmotivated.

The election didn't help. Everything went to hell when I was already in a bad place, so I've mostly been trying to just make it through each day however I can. Even if that means staring at the TV and not moving from the couch for hours, not writing.

I thought maybe NaNo would get me back into writing, but it didn't. The first year in over a decade that I haven't done NaNo. Or at least, quit before I hit more than a couple thousand words. I'm disappointed in myself, but I keep reminding myself that even though I can't write it now doesn't mean I'll never be able to.

I pushed myself pretty hard this year. I took advantage of the good months. I don't want to become complacent, but I feel like I've worked hard enough to allow myself some down time while I need it.

I did send my flash fiction back out. It's a slow market, so they haven't even gotten to it yet, but that's ok. I don't have to think about it much, so that's nice.I threw a few more words at a couple different stories. I had a dream that I am trying to turn in to a Cafe story. I only have a few more days before I need to finish that up, though, so hopefully I can write more than a hundred words on it over the next few days.

I don't even have that editing project I was expecting this month. I'm not the only writer suffering right now, apparently. I'm equal parts relieved and bummed. At least fiction editing I still feel confident about. Although I'm in such a funk, I don't know how well I would have done.

I really hope the holidays will knock this funk loose. I found a new therapist, I'm working on taking better care of myself, and I do love Christmas, as stressful as it is. If I can get myself feeling better emotionally, maybe I'll be able to write again.

For now, I'm taking baby steps. I'm going to try to write for the Cafe for the next few months. That's it. No novellas. No novels. No editing projects. Just....a short story a month for awhile, until I feel less overwhelmed by the bigger projects.

I got a lot done in 2016, even though it was the worst year ever. I can't lose sight of that.

Next month, I'll probably do a summary of my accomplishments and talk about my goals for next year.

But right now, I'm prepping for Thanksgiving and trying to keep my head above water.

Hope your holidays are full of happiness and love. Take care, my friends.

Monday, October 24, 2016

October Update: Stalled

I don't have much to report this month.

I went out of town the first weekend of this month and wrecked my rental car. It wasn't anything major. No other cars involved, nobody hurt or anything. Just bumps and bruises from me. But that, among other things, has sucked my creativity dry.

I made it through an edit of ToK. I need to do two or three minor things to it and it'll be ready for beta readers.

And that's all. I was supposed to finish one of my adventure series stories. I was going to try to write for the Cafe. Instead, I got nothing. I also finally got my rejection from Flash Fiction Online. It made it to the final round, but still didn't get accepted. I haven't had the heart to try to send it back out.

I haven't even been able to read. I've started reading probably eight different books now. Bookmarks are sitting in two of them, and the rest have gone back on the shelf or in the box to donate.

I know sometimes writers need a break from writing. We need input to continue our output. I just feel like I've stalled out this month since I'm not even putting things in right now.

Next month is NaNo. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself right now, since I have to try to start the final book in the trilogy I'm writing next month. But I'm losing hope. I'm getting discouraged.

The forward momentum had been amazing. And now?

I don't even know what I'm aiming for anymore. The small press I wanted to submit to closed its doors. I still haven't gotten the line edits I was hoping for. I don't even care about the characters in my books anymore.

I know I'll get my writing mojo back at some point. I know that just because I spend a month not writing it doesn't mean I'm not a writer. I'll get it back.

But I still feel sick and listless about it right now. I'm not sure what to do.

Which is sad. October is my favorite month. And it's been a good month overall. Just terrible for writing. I haven't even been to the office.

Hopefully NaNo will do what NaNo is great at: get me back into a writing practice.

Until then...I have a week left of October. Maybe...maybe I'll just let myself relax without the pressure of having to create. All my worlds, all my characters, will still be there when I'm ready.

In my experience, I'm never able to stay away for long.

Sorry for the downer, friends. But maybe it's hopeful. All writers go through this. We're not alone when we feel this way. And it's temporary.